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Biggest 2012 Political Shocker Now Would Be Palin Not Running for President

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hatien


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COMMENTARY | Sarah Palin, the politician that the media loves to cover ad nauseum, will most likely announce her candidacy for president sometime in the near future (some are saying she may wait until September). Everything seems to be falling her way of late, or at least it appears that way when looking at how things are shaping up within the field of potential candidates in the Republican Party. It is almost as if Fate were stepping in to take a hand in positioning things just right for the former governor of Alaska...

How so? Just take a look at several major events concerning the field of potential GOP candidates that happened within the past two weeks. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, frontrunner for the nomination in most national polls, announced he would not seek the presidency. Two days later, business mogul Donald Trump, who had been running neck-and-neck with the Republican leaders but was showing signs of faltering due to his affiliation with the birther movement, followed suit. Sandwiched in between those two events was former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's seeming verbal hari-kiri -- he labeled Rep. Paul Ryan's House-approved Medicare restructuring plans "radical" and called it "social engineering" -- on NBC's "Meet The Press."

At the same time, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is having difficulty selling his state health care program (one he endorsed and signed into law when he was governor of the state) as different from the much-maligned (within the Republican Party) Health Care Reform implemented by the Obama administration, which is undoubtedly having an effect on Romney's standing in the polls.

To review: Huckabee, out. Trump, out. Gingrich, in but knocking himself out. Three of the four potential candidates that were either ahead of or within a few points of Palin in the polls have taken themselves out of consideration. And the fourth? Getting waylaid by his own policies from when he was governor.

A recent Gallup poll places Palin just two points back of Mitt Romney (18 percent to 20 percent, respectively) and well within the margin of error (=/- 3) as the preferred GOP candidate. That same poll had Gingrich in third with an 11 percent posting, but the poll was released the day after the former Speaker made his remarks and began receiving widespread conservative condemnation, so it is difficult to say where Gingrich supporters might fall if they believe he torpedoed his chances of winning the nomination.

And Palin can afford to take her time with her entrance into the race. She has plenty of name recognition and a solid base of support. She also has her own political action committee, so she won't have to worry about financing her campaign. Then there is her celebrity, which guarantees her television time (and that is aside from her contributor position on Fox News, where she can dispense hope to her followers that she will run, like she did with Greta van Susteren last week, telling her that she had a "fire in [her] belly" for a presidential run), which she can use for effect -- to slam Obama, blast an opponent's policies, condemn some measure being deliberated in Congress -- up until she declares.

But with all the major Republican hopefuls dropping by the wayside and the early health care-related troubles being experienced by Romney, it would appear that Sarah Palin, who looked like an almost-ran a few months ago, just might be the Republican to beat in the GOP presidential race. Even though many predicted she would not run, with the field thinning down, the biggest political shocker this season would be if Palin decided not to run.

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